Loew's Willard Theatre

96-01 Jamaica Avenue,
Woodhaven, NY 11421

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Showing 26 - 50 of 113 comments

AntonyRoma on October 2, 2007 at 2:35 am

That’s exactly what I’ve done LostMemory; ie- I have copied and pasted most of the information relevant to RT Short. It is included between “xx”, [[xx]], or <<xx>>, here or on the orher pages.

AntonyRoma on October 1, 2007 at 4:27 pm

Soryy, Lostmemory. You have to be a subscriber to Proquest. That’s why I’ve included a description of the articles I’ve posted here and on the Ridgewood and Madison pages.

I included the the link to the url as a reference and for any others on the list who may be subscribers.

Thanks for the lead to the Suffolk page.

Shalom, ciao, and excelsior

AntonyRoma on October 1, 2007 at 2:41 pm

The NYT of 2/8/1900 announced he won first prize for the design of model tenement houses. Harde and a colleague came in 2nd and 3rd.

Check the Ridgewood page for a few things I’ve uncovered.

Shalom, ciao, and excelsior

AntonyRoma on October 1, 2007 at 12:59 pm

Neither does an earlier NYT article

<<Except for their three bigger, and better known, apartment houses of 1906-1909, Harde & Short otherwise made little impact on apartment-house architecture in New York — except perhaps to convince developers to stick with tried-and-true formulas. Of the architects' other buildings, only Short’s castle-like police station at 134 West 30th Street (1906-1908) goes well beyond the typical.>>

It is not clear to me what was unique about their design or what a ‘pyrotechnic facade’ referred to in your reference means.

Shalom, ciao, and excelsior

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 1, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Christopher Gray fails to mention Short’s prolific career as a theatre architect. Perhaps he wasn’t aware of it, or at least not at the time that he wrote the article. I do know that Gray reads some of the postings at Cinema Treasures.

AntonyRoma on October 1, 2007 at 11:55 am

Thanks LostMemory.I’d call him a ‘local guy’ for all intents and purposes. No reference to his theater designs.

Sounds like the NYT didn’t hold his talents in too high regard:[[Short continued in architecture after leaving Harde, but his subsequent buildings – many in Brooklyn, where he continued to live – were unexceptional. The date of his death is not known.

No contemporary critic bothered to give Harde & Short more than a passing reference – more often than not just a swipe – and so it is likely that all we will know of them is their buildings. ]]

AntonyRoma on October 1, 2007 at 11:14 am

Warren, do you agree with CT’s designation that short designed ‘classic’ theatres?
How many of the 15 listed are you responsible for documenting?
I wasn’t able to get any bio info on him, albeit very limited effort

Shalom, ciao, and excelsior

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 1, 2007 at 10:56 am

I don’t know if R.T. Short was a “local guy.” It just happened that he did many projects for Century Theatres, which operated only in Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Before designing theatres, Short was partner in a firm that did Manhattan apartment buildings.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 1, 2007 at 10:49 am

The drawing at the top of this sign shows what the building will look like after renovations are completed. The second photo was taken yesterday from the Woodhaven Boulevard “el” station:

PKoch on October 1, 2007 at 10:30 am

Therefore, what was once the Willard will be even less like a theater after this current transformation into stores and offices is completed.

AntonyRoma on October 1, 2007 at 10:29 am

R. Thomas Short, was he a local guy from Long Island, where all the ‘classic’ theaters he designed are located?

Shalom, ciao, and excelsior

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 30, 2007 at 4:28 pm

Just discovered today that the catering hall has closed and will be totally gutted for transformation into stores and offices. The exterior will also be renovated, including removal of all traces of the tacky catering decor.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 22, 2007 at 12:36 pm

The introduction needs to be updated so that it will be reflected in the listings for the work of architect R. Thomas Short. This will give him 16 credits so far. I suspect there are more. I think that I’ve found a 17th, but will refrain from posting it until I have documented evidence.

PKoch on June 18, 2007 at 12:12 pm

Thanks, Warren. Hopefully, competition, in line with the American Way, made both theaters better.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 13, 2007 at 12:15 pm

Loew’s Willard didn’t remain “The Newest Link in the Chain” for very long. The very next day (November 27th, 1924), Loew’s took over the management of the Kameo Theatre on Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn:

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 13, 2007 at 11:30 am

The Willard was in the Adam style and had R. Thomas Short as architect, according to a pre-opening article in The Richmond Hill Record of November 21st, 1924. Here are excerpts from a long description of the theatre: “Loew’s Willard is 125 feet in depth and has a frontage of 147 feet on Jamaica Avenue. The exterior is of light colored face brick with limestone ornamental trimming with strong granite base, of modern design and provided with flashing attractive electric light signs and marqueises. The theatre is entered through a wide lobby with colored terazzo floor, polish marble wainscoting and ornamental plaster upper walls and ceiling, attractively decorated. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 2,168, 1,436 being on the ground floor and 732 in balcony and loges…The stage is 30 feet deep by 100 feet wide and over 80 feet high, and modernly equipped for vaudeville. The orchestra pit is of ample size, and is to accommodate a large orchestra and includes organ lofts. The overhanging balcony is ingeniously constructed without any supporting columns except at the rear of the seats. An open well is provided under the balcony from the orchestra floor up to the mezzanine, which contains promenade, lounge rooms for men, a hat and coat checking room, ushers' room, and manager’s office. The interior throughout is finished with well proportioned ornamental plastering handsomely decorated, one of the attractive features being a large dome over the auditorium with hidden border lights…The building is entirely fireproof and arranged with numerous exits. Modern heating and ventilation systems are installed. The lighting effects are by hidden lights, handsome lighting fixtures, dimmers and colored lighting effects. This is without doubt the finest theatre in this section of the country. As viewed by the public after the opening, it will bring to the very doorstep of Queens the best that money could produce.”

PKoch on June 12, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Thanks, Warren.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on June 12, 2007 at 5:01 pm

To answer my own question of 12/6/06, the Manor was still operating on the day that Loew’s Willard first opened in 1924, so one theatre did not replace the other. But the debut of the Willard did hasten the demise of the Manor, which closed well before the arrival of talkies.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 8, 2006 at 8:14 am

I found yet another early Woodhaven cinema called the Parkway Motion Picture Theatre, which in 1916 was advertised as being at 1163 Jamaica Avenue, near Yarmouth Street. The building number is extinct, but Yarmouth is now called 85th Street. I wonder if the Parkway might be listed here under a later name and a “modern” number for 1163?

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on December 6, 2006 at 1:41 pm

I’m wondering if the Willard might have been built on the ground site of an earlier cinema called the Manor? I found an ad for the Manor from 1916 giving a Woodhaven address of Jamaica Avenue opposite Vanderveer Place and near Willard Avenue. It seems that Vanderveer Place and Willard Avenue are both now known as 96th Street, which is in the vicinity of the Willard (now a catering hall).

PKoch on October 16, 2006 at 1:44 pm

Thanks, Warren. Interesting, in that the Willard was neither in Richmond Hill nor Kew Gardens, but in Woodhaven.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 16, 2006 at 1:37 pm

Peter, I found that “GWTW” ad in a weekly newspaper from either Richamond Hill or Kew Gardens, but I don’t remember which. The Willard used to advertise in both.

PKoch on October 16, 2006 at 10:44 am

Thanks, Warren. What newspaper was that from ?

EdSolero, I’ve grown tired of flame wars.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on October 14, 2006 at 9:19 am

The Willard’s first engagement of “Gone With The Wind,” which was two weeks after the film ended its run with the same policy at Loew’s Valencia (1940):

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on September 2, 2006 at 9:05 pm

Things have certainly gotten a might less interesting around here… and I don’t just mean the fact that the flame wars have been doused.